How to pick an experienced, motivated Board of Advisors to help you thru your Launch
Passion & Availability, Be Selective & Specific, Skin is In, Counsel vs Advice, Timing, Respect, Listen & Reward, Equity
As an entrepreneur, it’s beneficial to put together a smart, inspired Board of Advisors to help get you through your beginning years of Starting and beyond. That’s why we asked 12 Startup Founders from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) “What is most important when choosing your Board of Advisors?
1. Passion & Availability.
Don’t chase a title or a company. Instead, look for members that are excited about your business and “vet” them – based on their skills, experience & availability. This will help you have passionate Advisors – that are committed to your success.
Most people will informally advise you. Have as many of those kinds of advisors as you like. For your actual Board of Advisors you should be a lot more selective. They get small portions of Equity shares, so they should really know what they’re talking about & really help you with the business. Ideally, they should have experience in Startups & your field. Shoot for 3-5 at most.
3. They should have some Skin in the Game.
Don’t rush your selection. Make sure your Advisors want to be engaged & involved. This way you can avoid wasting resources like time & money. Furthermore, make sure your board members have some “skin” in the game and have made an investment in the company. This will prove to you that they believe in the company & leadership, and that they will be willing to work hard to associate themselves with a winning business to also profit them selves.
4. Counsel vs Advice.
It’s important to seek people who can provide Counsel – instead of people who just give Advice. Anyone can give you Advice, but Counsel is a very specific type of Advice that comes from people who have vast knowledge or experience in the area of your business. You should always try to surround yourself with people who have more experience or are more knowledgeable than you are. You do not have to be an expert in every area of your business, but you should put together a council of people who are the most knowledgeable about every critical area of your venture.
5. Seek Specific, Dream BiG !!!
a) When building our Advisory team, we drew our Dream team of Advisers on the whiteboard. We included specific, sometimes famous and out-of-our-reach people.
b) Once we had a team we were happy with, we identified the important factors that drove us to include each person on the Dream team. Were they a Subject-matter expert in our space? Did they know influential investors?
c) Once we completed this exercise, we were left with specific features, experiences & connections we were looking for in each seat. The rest was easy. We networked to meet people with those specific sets of features. Once you know specifically who you’re after, other people will help you find them.
6. Take the Time to be sure.
I know many companies that have given away cash or stock options to advisers too quickly, often before getting to know them well or understanding their commitment to the company. Don’t rush into it. Most advisers worth their weight will happily spend time with you and prove their value, long before they ask for an official role or any kind of compensation.
7. Show them Respect – fitting to someone with their prestigue.
Anyone worthy of being on your Board of Advisors will be an extremely busy business professional. Be respectful of their time and do your homework in preparing and structuring every inter-action, so you’re wasting any of their time.
8. Listen to them and Reward them for good advice.
Your Advisers should be people that you’re truly interested in listening to. You don’t have to take their advice, but use it in making a decision. Advisory boards are not as practical as you would think. While you will certainly benefit from your Advisers’ feedback, a board is also an important way to maintain & expand your network. Think about who has helped you in the past, who will be there in the future and who you want to get advice from.
9. Vest their Equity over time.
It is extremely difficult to find the right Advisers for your business. You need to make sure they have a strong work ethic, sufficient spare time to commit to your company and that they can provide good advice & resources to your business.
Instead of giving advisers all of their shares at once, consider having their equity “vest” over time, so you have a fair solution if these factors do not line up, which is often the case.
Comment: Do you have an other factors to consider, when picking a Board of Advisors.
from ReadWrite.com 04 Aug 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz